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Introduction to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

If you have been the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by a qualifying United States Citizen spouse, former spouse, parent, son or daughter, or a lawful permanent resident spouse or former spouse or parent, then you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident.

Additionally, you may be able to include your family member in your application for status, even if your family member was not a victim of the battery or extreme cruelty.

Eligibility Requirements for VAWA

Eligibility requirements for spouse/ex-spouse:

1) You were a victim of battery or extreme cruelty;
2) You entered into the marriage in good faith;
3) You have resided with your spouse or ex-spouse;
4) You or your child suffered battery or extreme cruelty by your spouse;
5) You are currently married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident;
6) You were married to a US Citizen or lawful permanent resident and the marriage was terminated by death or divorce within 2 years prior to filing;
7) Your spouse lost or renounced citizenship due to domestic violence offenses;
8) You mistakenly believed you were legally married but were not because of bigamy;
9) You are a person of good moral character.

Eligibility requirements for child:

1) You were a victim of battery or extreme cruelty by your parent;
2) You have resided with your abusive parent;
3) You were married to a US Citizen or lawful permanent resident, and the marriagewas terminated by death or divorce within 2 years prior to filing;
4) You are a person of good moral character (if you are under 14, you are presumed to have good moral character).

Eligibility requirements for parent:

1) You were a victim of battery or extreme cruelty by your son or daughter;
2) You have resided with your abusive son or daughter;
3) You were married to a US Citizen or lawful permanent resident which was terminated by death or divorce within 2 years prior to filing;
4) You are a person of good moral character (if you are under 14, you are presumed to have good moral character).

Process and Filing Fees for VAWA

If filing from within the United States, you must gather legal documents (for example, marriage certificate/divorce degree, proof of legal status of the abusive spouse or parent) and proof of the abuse suffered (for example, statements of family or friends with knowledge about the abuse, medical records, and psychologist records). You must then complete Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant and file the submission with USCIS.

If you wish to obtain lawful permanent residence, you can file Form I-360 at the same time as Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status. You may also be required to file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility and/or Form I-212, Application for permission to reapply for admission to the United States after Deportation or Removal.

If you do not wish to file to obtain lawful permanent residence immediately, then you may file Form I-360, and upon approval, file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS.

Form I-360 Petition – Free
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization – Free
Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status – $1225 (but may be eligible for fee waiver)

Conclusion

If you or a loved one has been the victim of battery or extreme cruelty, you may be eligible for legal status through VAWA.

Call us today to discuss you VAWA Petition.

To schedule a consultation please call: 206-488-9030

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Jeff Goldman, Seattle Immigration Attorney

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